The Audacious Epigone reminds us of the courage of John Derbyshire who told us:
To the dissident, the only thing worth pondering about the proposition is, is it true? If it is, then no king’s command can falsify it; and if it is not, then not even the assent of a hundred million will make it true.
Predictably, one year after he said this, he was persecuted for speaking truth to power.
The dissident, therefore, has disturbing characteristics in common with the nerd, in fearlessly pursuing obscure knowledge that is of little personal use to him, or likely to be actively harmful to him. Who could be nerdlier than Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit?
But, on the other hand, Steve McIntyre defeated the united forces of the state, academia, and the scientific establishment by exposing the hockey stick fraud. After seven years of struggle, in 2012 October, the scientific establishment quietly decided that no further hockey sticks shall be published or publishable, and quietly conceded that the medieval climatic optimum happened. He won, the entire marshaled and united forces of official science lost. He is now pursuing mopping up operations to get the worst offenders punished. They are unlikely to be punished, but that they are discredited (and thus all of official science discredited) is implicitly admitted by the retreat. There is something not very nerdly about such a victory. (more…)